Anglican Samizdat

December 22, 2009

It must be Christmas: I half agree with George Pitcher

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 12:17 pm
Tags: ,

George Pitcher is a liberal Anglican priest who writes for the Telegraph and doesn’t believe in the devil in spite of living in the country that produced the Guardian.

He rightly points out that equality legislation doesn’t work and, ironically, can penalise Christians who hold that every individual is equally loved by and valuable to God:

This Government has never learnt that you can’t legislate for equality and freedom. You can pass laws that protect people from specific harm. You can make it illegal to do harm to others or to their property. But fuzzy, feel-good laws, under which we’re generally enjoined to be nice to one another, are too easy to draft and dangerous to implement.

There’s a delicious irony in equality being thrust upon the household of faith. Because equality before God, all humanity being created equally in the image of that God, a God, as we say, who “has no grandchildren”, is a central tenet of the Christian faith. For orthodox Christians, equality really is not the issue. For them, gay people are equally loved of God; it’s their homosexuality that is sinful in that it is contrary to God’s will. For Catholics, women are every bit the equals of men, indeed they often seem to be venerated above men; it’s their supposed exercise of fatherhood that is an abomination.

Luckily, just as I was getting the uneasy feeling that I was about to agree with an entire article by George, to my relief, he came up with this:

As it happens, I don’t believe there are theological, scriptural or ecclesiological grounds for barring women or homosexuals from priesthood or bishoprics, any more than there is a case for barring newspaper columnists from them.

The bible makes the case for the first barring, and Pitcher himself makes the case for the second.


  1. Hi David, just a quick question that’s only indirectly related to your post: I’ve noticed a growing trend on this blog and amongst my friends – the Bible is no longer being capitalised when referred to in print. Have I missed something in the world of English grammar??? My internal editor winces every time I see it…

    Oh, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Comment by NLees — December 22, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  2. Hi Natacha, Merry Christmas to you and your family, too.

    I think the correct usage is “Bible” when referring to the Christian Bible and “bible” in the context of “the Photographer’s Handbook is his bible”. So I should be capitalising it – and will in future (until I forget:-).

    Comment by David — December 22, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

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